RESIDENTS in Ruislip are celebrating this week after another bid to build on garden land was refused - the latest in a growing number of victories for green-minded locals.
A planning application for the construction of two five-bedroom detached homes within the rear gardens of 51 and 53 Pembroke Road was unanimously refused by members of the north planning committee of Hillingdon Council last Thursday (Sept 16).
It shows that the tide against so-called 'garden grabbing' developments has turned since the new Coalition Government changed the definition of such land from Brownfield to Greenfield, giving councils more power to refuse applications.
At the meeting last week, Brickwall Lane resident David Hood gave an impassioned plea on behalf of the 94 people who had signed his petition against the Pembroke Road scheme.
Mr Hood said: "I speak on behalf of the vast majority of Ruislip residents sick and tired of being targeted by developers.
"Until the arrival of the Metropolitan Line, Ruislip was an agricultural community but it became part of 'Metroland' with outside parks, open spaces and above all, gardens, which are a homeowner's pride and joy.
"I have lived in Ruislip on and off all my life and I remember this garden was an orchard with flower beds and shrubs.
"The application is totally overbearing and out of keeping with the surroundings. Let us put a stop to all this over-development."
Planning officers had recommended in a report to the committee that the plans should be refused. Ruislip Residents' Association and both local ward councillors also objected.
Council officer Sonia Bowen said that although the proposal would not harm the residential amenities of nearby properties, the proposed development was 'detrimental' to the character of the local area.
Ms Bowen stated: “The principle of intensifying the residential use of the site to the level proposed through the loss of private gardens would have a detrimental impact on the character, appearance and local distinctiveness of the area.
“The proposed development and in particular the proposed new access road would, by reason of its size, layout and design, be totally out of keeping with the character and appearance of neighbouring properties and the historic context of the area."
Ruislip Manor ward Councillor Douglas Mills (Conservative) agreed and said: "The application is not acceptable for Pembroke Road and I call on the community to make a stand.
"We as a local planning authority can say wholeheartedly that we are against garden grabbing."#
Applicant Mark Rumsey, who lives and owns 51 and 53 Pembroke Road, had earlier asked the committee to approve the plans.
He said: "Before the application I made a point of speaking to 18 neighbours, most of whom said it would have little or no impact on them, and it will not result in a loss of privacy.
"I have lived in Ruislip all my life and I would like to remain in the community. I am fully aware people don't like change but careful consideration has been given to these plans."
But Mr Rumsey's view was disregarded and the committee members voted unanimously to refuse the application.
The result was in stark contrast to the decision in December 2007 to allow the demolition of eight homes in Pembroke Road, and the construction of 83 residential flats in their place.
Another 'garden grab' proposal opposed by local residents, to divide one bungalow in Howlett's Lane into two separate homes, was deferred to a later committee meeting because of a lack of information.